The sister of one of Dennis Hastert’s alleged victims says her brother left the town where he was sexually abused by the former House Speaker and “never came home.”
On the eve of Hastert’s sentencing hearing, Jolene Burdge spoke out about the allegations she’s made on behalf of her brother, who she said detailed the abuse to her before he died in 1995 from complications from AIDS.
“He looked at me and said, ‘It was with Dennis Hastert,’” she said in an interview Tuesday. “’He did this to me, but I’m over it.’ But he wasn’t really over it.”
Burdge said she confronted Hastert about the allegations before.
“I wanted him to know that his secret didn’t die with Steve, and that I knew what he did and I wanted him to remember that I was out there and I knew,” she said.
Hastert is accused of molesting at least four former students when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High. He has pleaded guilty to a crime known as "structuring," an effort to mask payments to an unnamed individual whom he had allegedly sexually abused decades ago.
Hastert will have to face two of his accusers, including Burdge, at his sentencing hearing Wednesday.
The second witness, identified only as “Individual D” had only recently come forward and is identified in court documents as a former member of the Yorkville wrestling team during the period when Hastert was coach.
Burdge said she’s just grateful the case against Hastert has made it this far.
“For Steve we’ve just fought long and hard to make this truth come out after all these years,” she said. “It’s the culmination. It’s crossing the finish line.”